Last week, we addressed a question about food and beer pairing. Today, we’ll review that question, re-state our answer, and then provide a follow-up note about a new book on the subject…
LAST WEEK’S QUESTION: What food matches better with beer than with wine?
OUR ANSWER: That’s probably a better question for a beer-oriented Web site, but we’ll give it a shot.
Basically, anything that doesn’t go well with wine. That may seem obvious, but there’s actual wisdom within those words.
While wine matches with an extremely wide array of food — in part because there are so many different types and styles of wine with so many different flavors — there are certain dishes that are problematic.
An example: asparagus. While you CAN drink Sauvignon Blanc with that assertive-tasting vegetable, it’s not what we’d call a match made in heaven. It’s a match, yes, but not one we’d go out of our way to seek out.
Another example: hot dogs. Again, while you CAN drink a nice, dry rose with a hot dog, we’d probably opt for a well-chilled brewsky.
Ultimately, it all boils down to personal taste. If you like wine with asparagus, go for it. If you like a glass of vino with a hot dog, pop that cork.
Beer certainly has its place in the world of food pairing, witness the handful of new “gastropubs” — focused on food and artisan beers — that have opened over the past year. But we’ve found that such establishments are particularly appealing to those who haven’t developed a palate for wine.
Ultimately, the best culinary experiences involve food and WINE, not food and beer.
FOLLOW-UP: Sommelier Marnie Old and brewer Sam Calagione have a long-standing, friendly rivalry. She thinks wine is the best beverage to drink with food: he thinks it’s beer.
She is director of wine studies for the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan and is a high-profile wine consultant; he is a hero of the craft-beer movement, having founded the lauded Delaware-based craft brewery, Dogfish Head.
Five years ago, they put the issue before an unbiased audience by hosting a dinner featuring pairings of both. They called it “Beer Is From Mars, Wine Is From Venus.”
Many dinners later, their “pair-offs” have evolved into a book: “He Said Beer, She Said Wine” (DK Publishing, $25).
The book offers specific beer and wine pairings for dishes from foie gras to French fries, as well as a primer on how to do your own pairings, useful tools to help you demystify wine and beer, and even dinner-party recipes (with pairings, of course).